Via political animal, Ta Nehisi Coates on repugs' inappropriate use of the race card:
The conservative movement doesn't understand anti-racism as a value, only as a rhetorical pose. This is how you end up tarring the oldest integrationist group in the country (the NAACP) as racist. The slur has no real moral content to them. It's all a game of who can embarrass who. If you don't think racism is an actual force in the country, then you can only understand its invocation as a tactic.
It's not working, mostly because the vast majority of women have seen this before. It's the cheating boyfriend who admits he cheated on her, refuses to apologize for cheating on her, and makes clear he intends to keep cheating on her, but can't understand why she's so upset and won't take him back.
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Sen. Chuck Grassley (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
I love you, Sen. Chuck Grassley:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested Tuesday that the prostitutes at the center of the Secret Service scandal represented a grave danger to national security because they could have been planted by another country like Russia.I was pretty sure that the big danger in Colombia was that everyone was from Al Qaeda. Or was that Peru? I forget, I can never keep track of which Central and South American countries pose existential threats for which reasons. I guess Colombia is now the place where Russian spy-hookers hang out. Or maybe the whole damn world is populated with Russian spy-hookers, all pretending to be local prostitutes on the off chance that one day the president of the United States will visit their town and an extremely stupid advance security team will decide to go prostitute-shopping, thus providing the crack team of Russian spy-hookers with access to American secrets such as "how much will extremely stupid advance security team members pay for prostitutes" and "if you are hired as a prostitute by an extremely stupid advance security team member, are you allowed to help yourself to items from the hotel's mini-fridge."
?We?re looking at something that is very, very serious when national security might not be protected properly,? Grassley told Radio Iowa on Tuesday. ?Who knows who might be using prostitutes? The Russians are famous for that to get information out of us. You want to know that the president is protected.?
I don't know. I don't care. It has been far too long since Congress got to play around with a sex scandal that didn't directly involve one of their own members, and the prospect has all of Washington giddy. I'm sure crack investigator (and investigative crack) Rep. Darrell Issa will get to the bottom of Possibly Secretly Communist Hookergate, during one of his many interminable sessions on How Barack Obama Can Be Blamed For Something Today, and then we'll know.
Residents of Wilmington, Delaware were distressed today to witness their bumbling mayor humiliate himself and his city with his loose-cannon rhetoric. The members of Occupy Delaware empathize with the distressed city residents and wish to apologize for[...]
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Remember a week ago, when Republicans (and Very Serious journos everywhere) were writing the obituary of the Obama presidency, based on the modest lead Mitt Romney had forged in the newly-minted daily tracking poll conducted by the venerable Gallup organization?
Yeah, not so much, now.
What was once a Romney lead of (ZOMG!) five points is now an Obama lead of seven points. But given the wild swings, it is hard to grant credibility to either the pessimistic results from last week or the more optimistic results of present day.
With that cautionary note out of the way, here are the numbers:
(GOP) PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY POLLING (yes ... it lives!):
TEXAS (PPP): Romney 45, Gingrich 35, Paul 14PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (49-42)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (PPP for Daily Kos/SEIU): Obama d. Romney (49-44)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (48-44)
TEXAS (PPP): Romney d. Obama (50-43); Paul d. Obama (47-43); Gingrich d. Obama (47-45)
KY-04--R (Wenzel Strategies for Massie): Thomas Massie 32, Alecia Webb-Edgington 22, Gary Moore 17, Walter Schumm 4, Marc Carey 2, Brian Oerther 1, Thomas Wurtz 1A few thoughts, as always, just past the jump.
NH-GOV (WMUR/Univ. of New Hampshire): Maggie Hassan (D) 34, Ovide Lamontagne (R) 29; Hassan 29, Kevin Smith (R) 24; Jackie Cilley (D) 31, Lamontagne 30; Cilley 30, Smith 23
NM-SEN (PPP): Martin Heinrich (D) 48, Heather Wilson (R) 43; Hector Balderas (D) 44, Wilson 43
NM-SEN--D (PPP): Martin Heinrich 51, Hector Balderas 27
NY-24 (McLaughlin and Associates for Buerkle): Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) 42, Dan Maffei (D) 38
NC ANTI-MARRIAGE EQUALITY AMENDMENT (PPP): Yes 54, No 40
NC-GOV--D (PPP): Walter Dalton 26, Bob Etheridge 25, Bill Faison 5, Bruce Blackmon 4, Gary Dunn 4, Gardenia Henley 2
VA-SEN (Rasmussen): George Allen (R) 46, Tim Kaine (D) 45
Less than two weeks after a wild night in Cartagena, the majority of the agents accused in the Secret Service prostitution scandal have either retired or resigned, the agency indicated in a statement late Tuesday.
Out of the 12 agents who came under investigation, eight employees have either retired or resigned from the agency. An additional three were cleared of serious misconduct but will face appropriate administrative action. The Secret Service is moving to permanently revoke the security clearance of the final individual, a move that if cleared by the Federal Security Clearance process would force him out of the agency.
"At this point, all twelve have either been cleared of serious misconduct, resigned, retired, been notified of personnel actions to permanently revoke their security clearances, or have been proposed for permanent removal for cause," Secret Service Assistant Director Paul S. Morrissey said in a statement emailed to reporters.
Morrissey said the agency "will not hesitate to take appropriate action should any additional information come to light."
Mitt Romney is doing his best to dump advisor and anti-immigration hardliner Kris Kobach as part of his post-primary repositioning. But Kobach isn't going quietly. [...]
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It’s primary Tuesday and Newt Gingrich is hanging on by his pudgy little fingers. But for how much longer?
Newt Gingrich hinted he may withdraw from the presidential race if he has a poor showing in the Delaware primary Tuesday ? a state where he has been actively campaigning for several weeks. – First Read, MSNBC
Politico’s Ginger Gibson, who’s been covering Gingrich, isn’t so sure it’s lost.
Meanwhile, Pres. Obama gets slammed by a Republican group in the video above, with Solyndra and the GSA scandal rich fodder for the right.
For those following the primary results tonight, Buzzfeed and Comedy Central are joining together in a Twitter extravaganza. Watch it at Comedy Central Indecision or Buzzfeed’s FB page, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Oh, and Ann Romney evidently hit it out of the park in Connecticut. I’ve been talking about Mrs. Romney since she started opening for her husband. She’s got the gift.
In yet another sign of trouble for the wisdom of harsh fiscal austerity (along with the CNN report), Commerzbank has noted the destructive impact of austerity. The story by conservatives that austerity cures all problems is proving false, just as many liberal economists stated from the beginning. It doesn't work that way and there are no solid examples to show it working in modern history either. The Democrats need to ramp up the discussion on austerity and its human cost because it's ugly. Read more about the Commerzbank report via CNBC:In a note to clients, analysts at Commerzbank said data is now clearly showing that government debt in the euro zone?s periphery is rising, despite the imposition of tough austerity at the behest of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union. Following data showing Portuguese debt rose in the first quarter of 2012, Christoph Weil, the chief economist at Commerzbank says it is unlikely Lisbon will meet its targets without even more spending cuts.
Earlier this month, ThinkProgress reported that immigration from Mexico into the United States reached a “net zero” level. Yet a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than are leaving Mexico for the U.S.A for the first time since the Great Depression.
The report notes several factors that are likely behind the change including tighter borders, including a weakened U.S. economy and a rise in deportations. But most interesting are two factors that may indicate that the trend may be lasting. First, the birthrate in Mexico has dropped. Between 1960 and 2009, the average Mexican woman went from having nine children to just two. As such the Mexican population has dropped. Second, the Mexican economy has improved. With a relatively strong economy, there is less incentive for citizens to emigrate.
For years, the U.S. immigration debate has been built around an assumption that there are large numbers of Mexican nationals trying to move into the U.S. — legally and illegally. This report suggests that this assumption may need to be re-evaluated. As Princeton Professor Douglas Massey, who co-directs the Mexican Migration Project, told the Washington Post, “I think the massive boom in Mexican immigration is over and I don?t think it will ever return to the numbers we saw in the 1990s and 2000s.”
One of the salutary effects of reading entertainment industry trade publications is that every time I get depressed about our abilities to have serious conversations about major issues in American entertainment, I get a very specific reminder of the fact that things are much, much worse elsewhere. Today’s reminder comes from India, where the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has shut down the broadcast of a movie called The Dirty Picture. While the title might suggest otherwise, this isn’t like the Scary Movie franchise (though such a thing would be pretty entertaining to watch). Instead, it’s a biopic about Indian actress Silk Smitha. And specifically, it’s about the fact that Smitha was typecast into what, by Indian standards, counts as soft-core pornography even though she garnered critical acclaim for more straightforward work. And the televised broadcast of the movie’s been shut down precisely for its exploration of themes like typecasting and the way women can get trapped in their looks:
While The Dirty Picture does not show any graphic nudity, the film had run into controversies even before its theatrical release for its bold portrayal of a struggling starlet making it big as a sex symbol. Last week, a lawyer from the central Indian town of Nagpur filed a court order seeking a ban on the film’s telecast since it ?contained obscene shots.? But the High Court cleared SET to go ahead with the screening after the I&B Ministry and the Central Board of Film Certification stated that the film had been re-edited with over 50 cuts.
?Whatever is shown on TV – whether it is a film, a serial or a commercial – has to be as per the program code of the Cable Television Network Regulation Act. As per the code, films that have U/A rating can be shown on TV… Some films have adult themes and the treatment and public perception is such that even after making many cuts the film retains its mature theme,? CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur told a newspaper defending the government’s directive to reschedule the film after 11 p.m.. But Thakur also added that the incident will force the CBFC ?to look at the whole process of cutting an adult film to make it suitable to be watched by children.?
I should note that The Dirty Picture did get theatrical play, and its director, Milan Luthria, has pointed out that it’s ridiculous that an extremely edited version of the movie, which would have aired at night and with significant notices of its rating, can live in theaters but is barred from broadcast. It’s a reminder that what counts as brave and what counts as difficult discussions aren’t the same everywhere. We take for granted a lot of what we can depict and what we can discuss.